Artist Statement: Terri Dowell-Dennis

Objects and materials carry meaning, emotion, and memory, evoking stories both personal and archetypal. I collect objects, make objects, and transform them using a variety of techniques to uncover mysteries otherwise hidden. Often my materials and techniques reference Southern and Appalachian craft traditions and domestic activities. My work is not media-specific; rather I research and develop techniques to fulfill the requirements of various projects. I work on many projects at once, some sculptural, some print-based, some installations. This practice allows me to range between material and conceptual problems as studio time avails itself. Sometimes it may take a few years to resolve a particular idea. Sometimes ideas fall away.

Sometimes I am inspired to reinterpret artworks from the distant past, rearticulating them in new media, reinventing to better understand and bring forward their secrets and conceptual subtleties. For example, in 2008-11, I created a series of prints derived from early images of Adam and Eve. These prints are part of The Genesis Project, begun in 2006, initially funded by a fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council.

Two projects use doll forms as a point of departure. The Corn Goddess series references a traditional Appalachian folk form—the corn dolly—while also suggesting ancient mythologies revolving around planting and harvest, the cycle of life, and fertility. This series overlaps with another, more recent, that mines the potential of a second vernacular form, the topsy-turvy doll of the American south.

Currently, I am working on many projects. The Genesis Project, which includes installation, drawings, and prints exploring questions and insights about this ancient book of beginnings continues to engage me.  A project called Small Problems explores both artistic and societal concerns and in 2011-12 spawned a successful  fundraising project with USA Artists called 100 Prints for Hunger.